Dalawampung taon na sa larangan ng ballet si Lisa Macuja, ang tinaguriang “Prima Ballerina” ng Pilipinas. Kasabay nito ang pagtayo niya ng kanyang Ballet Manila 20 years ago.
Last February 4, sumailalim si Lisa sa hip surgery, pero nilinaw niyang hindi ito dahil sa ilang taon niyang pagsasayaw ng ballet, kundi maaaring dahil na rin sa edad niya since she’s now 50 years old.
Noong February 16, nakapanayam ng Philippine Entertainment Portal (PEP.ph) si Lisa sa isang lunch sa Alba’s Restaurant sa Tomas Morato, Quezon City, at naikuwento niya ang tungkol sa operasyon niyang ito at ang kanyang buhay bilang Prima Ballerina for 20 years.
Masaya ring ibinalita ni Lisa ang nalalapit na 20th anniversary show ng kanyang Ballet Manila titled BM 2.0 ngayong Sabado, February 28, 7:30 pm at March 1 (Sunday), 3 pm sa Aliw Theater, Pasay City.
Proud na ipinahayag ni Lisa ang kanyang excitement sa 20th anniversary celebration na ito ng Ballet Manila kunsaan si Lisa ang Artistic Director and CEO.
“It’s Ballet Manila’s 20th anniversary concert. The repertoire in 2 hours, it’s going to encapsulate the essence of Ballet Manila for the past 20 years.
“It’s gonna be an exciting program, I am very exciting to it, and moving forward into the next 20 years. So I really want everyone to join us in Aliw Theater.
“They can purchase tickets from Ticketworld. It’s their best way of supporting the performing arts, especially ballet, buying tickets to the show.”
Para sa tickets ng BM 2.0 na 20th anniversary show ng Ballet Manila, tumawag sa Tel. No. 891-9999 or visit Ticketworld Online.
Kumusta ang naging operasyon niya?
“The hip surgery last February 4 was very successful, now I can walk without aid. I can even power walk and do some exercises and I can resume normal activity.
“I just can’t turn out yet because they shaved a little bit of my bone because there was growth that was impinged on my hip bone. So, they shaved that a little bit.
“So, my hip is fine. There was no tear, there was no damage.
“So, as soon as my bone heals on March 16 [six weeks after surgery], I can slowly go back dancing again.”
Ang dahilan ba ng operasyon niyang ito ay dahil sa ilang taon niyang pagsayaw ng ballet?
“I think, it’s age,” sagot ni Lisa. “It’s not because I’ve been dancing for so long, unlike my previous surgeries where I had chronic tendonitis and the other one.
“Those were really ballet-related coz I got injuries while dancing. This one, they just saw in the pelvic X-ray that there was bone growth, and they wanted to address it right away, because it’s a precursor for arthritis and total hip joint replacement.”
Ganoon raw kasakit ang kanyang mga buto bago ang operasyon. So, biglaan pala ang operasyon at hindi naka-schedule?
“They recommended that I’d undergo surgery within the year, pero I decided na, ‘Better na let’s do it now. ‘ So that for the rest of the year, I can be assured of normal activities.”
Gaano kahirap para sa kanyang ang desisyon ng operasyon?
“I remained hopeful,”aniya. “Kasi, my recovery has been quite fast. I was off pain killers before I was discharged. I was discharged a day early from the hospital.
“And I was up and about without the use of crutches, 8 days post-operation.”
At 50, masasabi ba niyang early retirement na ba ito sa kanya sa pagsayaw ng ballet?
“Right now, I am sidelined. I can’t dance until March 16. But after March 16, I will try and slowly back into dancing shape, whether or not I will go to stage again. Only God knows.
“But definitely, I will continue to be dancing whether in the studio or just for my own enjoyment.”
Sa dalawampung taon niyang pamamayagpag bilang Prima Ballerina ng Pilipinas, sinasabi ni Lisa na super blessed siya sa kanyang buhay – at sa pagpapalaganap ng naturang dance form of art, nan aka-inspire ng maraming Pinay na patuloy na humahanga sa kanya.
“I feel really blessed as a ballerina, as a mother, as a wife… I can say that I’ve been able to experience it all. Right now, everything is really icing on the cake.
“Everyday, when I wake up, I still engage with things that I really love to do. It’s so very exciting and interesting work – it’s work that I love, from teaching little kids to being an administrator or to managing or choosing new ballets to my company, to watching the dancers, giving company classes, something that I really wanna do.
“I’m really blessed that I’m able to do this.”
Anu-ano ang puwede niyang mabigay na tips para sa mga batang ballerina sa bansa upang maging successful tulad niya?
“Three things, really. First, you have to decide as early as you can in life, that you really want to dance. Kasi, dancing is for the young.
“You have to train for it when you’re like 6-7-8 years old. You have to be fully committed to it when you’re 11-12-13.
“You go to YouTube now, you see an 8-year-old dancing what an 18-year-old would normally do.
“Second is you seek the best training that you can.
“Kasi, you can be born with the perfect instrument for ballet or for dance, but if you’re not trained or schooled properly by a teacher who is qualified and who can really teach you how to dance, it’s going to be very hard to succeed. Sayang lang.
“And third, of course, no pain, no gain. Once you’re under a very good teacher, you have to be very diligent and committed. You have to attend all your classes.
“It’s something that you have to go everyday and put in 2-3 hours of training everyday.”
Hindi dapat pinipilit ng magulang tulad ng iba?
“Hindi dapat,”sagot ni Lisa. “Dapat gusto niya… My mom is here, you can ask her [tinuro ni Lisa ang kanyang ina na nasa same table na kinalulugaran namin].
“Hindi naman niya ako pinilit. And I see that in my own daughter, hindi ko siya pinipilit. In fact, minsan, ako pa yung pumipigil sa kanya, sabi ko, ‘Tama na, anak! Masyado na, over na!” tawa ni Lisa.
Sa dalawang dekada niya as a Prima Ballerina, nagsalita rin si Lisa kung may nakikita ba siyang susunod sa kanyang mga yapak bilang isang icon ng Ballet Dance – at ang mga kaibahan noong panahon niya at sa “digital age” ngayon.
“You know, to carbon copy my career, I think is impossible!
“Kasi, I was born, I was educated, and I was given a lot of opportunity in a different time of the performing arts, especially of ballet.
“Now, there are different standards, opportunities, requirements for you to become a principal ballerina.
“In a classical ballet company, you have to very versatile in so many different styles. You have to be of certain body type, stamina, stomach.
“It’s unfair to say, ‘This girl is gonna be the next Lisa Macuja!’ I think it’s unfair coz it’s completely different time and generation. But definitely, in Ballet Manila, there’s a lot of talents there.”
ON STEREOTYPES ABOUT BALLET DANCERS. May common misconception sa Pinoy culture, na kapag ang isang lalaki raw ay nag-ballet, siya ay certified gay na?
In fact, may nakasama sa Cine Totoo docu film festival last year titled Mananayaw tungkol sa mga lalaking nagsasayaw ng Ballet.
Mismong si Lisa Macuja ang tinanong namin sa kanyang opinyon kung totoo bang bading ang lahat ng mga lalaki sa mundo ng ballet?
“If all men in ballet are gay? I can say that a hundred percent, that is not true.
“There may be some, but definitely, in my company Ballet Manila, all… You know, one of my principal male dancers has a wife and three children.
“”The other principal male dance is engaged to be married.
“Another has a girlfriend, I think even several! So, definitely no!”
So, mali ang interpretasyon ng Pinoy?
“Mali, e. In fact, a lot of male dancers, you can ask them, why did they join Ballet, theire reason would be to be close to the girls. Or to be the only boy in the company of girls,” said Lisa.
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